MX23RW : Saturday, June 19 13:29:44| >> :600:425581:425581:
May 12, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia
AtalantaAtalanta BC
Muriel (22'), Pasalic (67')
de Roon (51'), Ilicic (81')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Tuia (40'), Barba (56'), Ionita (60'), Caldirola (80')
Caldirola (82')

Preview: Atalanta BC vs. Benevento - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Serie A clash between Atalanta BC and Benevento, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Top-four contenders Atalanta BC welcome relegation-threatened Benevento to the Gewiss Stadium on Wednesday, with both sides in need of points for very different reasons.

While La Dea are battling it out with several sides to seal their third successive Champions League qualification, former Bergamaschi striker Pippo Inzaghi brings his team to Lombardy with time running out to beat the drop.

Match preview

Atalanta's Cristian Romero celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on January 23, 2021© Reuters

Having won seven of their last nine games, as they seek a first-ever second-placed finish in Serie A, in-form Atalanta remain in the thick of the action going into the league's final fortnight.

Their latest free-scoring success came on Sunday afternoon, with an eventful 5-2 thumping of relegation-bound Parma at Stadio Ennio Tardini. Taking another significant step towards reaching their goal of a place in Europe's elite for next season, Gian Piero Gasperini's team took apart a dispirited Ducali in Emilia-Romagna.

Rested from the starting lineup, attacking pair Luis Muriel and Matteo Pessina were introduced in the second half, as La Dea went into overdrive; firing in four goals, including top scorer Muriel's 23rd and 24th of a particularly productive season. Already surpassing his previous best tally with three games left to play, the 30-year-old forward has helped his team reach a league-leading total of 84 goals this term.

Such a prolific attack has seen Atalanta put together an excellent run of results in recent months, with 11 wins, three draws and just one loss from their last 15 matches making them currently 'best of the rest', behind champions Inter.

Gasperini's men can also continue to take advantage of a less challenging fixture list during the run-in: after hosting struggling Benevento they face Genoa, ahead of a more testing final day clash with Lombardy rivals Milan.

In the first of that final three - as Atalanta have now posted 23 points from the last 27 available - they will expect to repeat their comfortable victory when they last met Wednesday's opponents, back in January: a 4-1 romp at Stadio Ciro Vigorito.

Benevento manager Filippo Inzaghi pictured in September 2020© Reuters

When they welcomed their more illustrious rivals to Campania just after the turn of the year, Pippo Inzaghi's Benevento were sitting inside the top half of the Serie A table and just three places behind the Bergamo side.

Since then, though, the Streghe's second-ever top-flight campaign has gone into a tailspin and they have now won just one of their last 19 matches; sliding into the bottom three for the first time late last month.

As that solitary success came - against all odds - away to Juventus, 18th-placed Benevento will hope that their far superior form on the road can still keep them afloat.

Following Sunday's desperate 3-1 reverse against direct drop rivals Cagliari, Inzaghi's charges have failed to pick up maximum points on home turf since December. Still mid-table in the 'away only' rankings however, they are yet to visit Torino on the final day, after hosting Serie B-bound Crotone next weekend.

Their next journey north entails facing down one of the most potent forces in Europe though, with a back line that has so far conceded at a rate of two goals per game. So, Gli Stregoni - from the Campanian 'City of Witches' - must conjure up something special to avoid dropping back into the division they only emerged from as champions last summer.

Atalanta BC Serie A form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W

Benevento Serie A form:
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L

Team News

Atalanta BC head coach Gian Piero Gasperini pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Gian Piero Gasperini was without Italy centre-back Rafael Toloi at the weekend due to a thigh strain and he will miss out on a place in the Atalanta back line once again. Wing-back Joakim Maehle overcame a sore Achilles to feature against Parma though, and is expected to contend with Hans Hateboer for a spot on the right of a possible four-man defence.

Meanwhile, first-choice goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini has served his suspension for a reckless sending off against Sassuolo recently, so deputy Marco Sportiello will return to the bench.

Top scorer Luis Muriel bounced back with a second-half brace at the Tardini after being benched twice in a week and previously missing a penalty, so will join Colombian compatriot Duvan Zapata up front. However, Gasperini also has Ruslan Malinovskyi, Josip Ilicic and Aleksei Miranchuk vying for places in a competitive attacking department, with all expecting to feature at some stage of the 90 minutes.

The visitors' Iago Falque was absent on Sunday, as he continues to struggle with a muscular injury, so Adolfo Gaich may partner Benevento's in-form striker Gianluca Lapadula.

Defensive duo Alessandro Tuia and Gaetano Letizia returned to the bench at the weekend after recent injuries, but forwards Marco Sau and Gabriele Moncini are expected to remain out of contention.

Doubts also remain over the availability of Belgian left-back Daam Foulon, while veteran midfielder Pasquale Schiattarella is suspended, so Nicolas Viola should come into the starting XI.

Atalanta BC possible starting lineup:
Gollini; Hateboer, Palomino, Romero, Gosens; De Roon, Freuler, Pessina, Malinovskyi; Muriel, Zapata

Benevento possible starting lineup:
Montipo; Caldirola, Glik, Tuia, Barba; Hetemaj, Viola, Dabo, Improta; Gaich, Lapadula

SM words green background

We say: Atalanta BC 3-1 Benevento

Given the vast gulf in terms of form and playing resources between these two teams, only one outcome can be expected at the Gewiss Stadium.

An abundance of creative and goalscoring options seamlessly rotate in and out of Atalanta's starting side - plus their well-utilised substitutes bench - while Benevento bring a sieve-like defence to the slaughter on Wednesday, as their top-flight status continues to ebb away.

Top tip

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